Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue look after a vast area – a total of 2,159 square miles of Northumberland hills and forestry.
Iain Nixon, team leader for Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, said: “Our volunteers have responded to 69 incidents and Northumbria Police have also used Mountain Rescue’s PhoneFind technology 166 times to help locate vulnerable missing persons.
“The core of our responses have been rescues of injured people (28) and searches for missing or lost individuals (23), but we’ve also had a busy year supporting local resilience in the wake of some extreme events, most notably wildfires.”
This year, the mountain rescue teams supported Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service with wildfires five times, providing practical support with volunteers and drones.
The teams have responded to a number of challenging and life-saving incidents including the rescue of a teenage kayaker in the River North Tyne and a motorist trapped in a flooded ford near Wooler. In their most recent incident, the teams rescued two fell runners who had got into difficulty in the Cheviot Hills over the Christmas weekend.
The teams also received praise this year from Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenen QPM. The Chief Constable presented some of the team with long service awards and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for services to Mountain Rescue. Five team members received long service awards totalling more than 150 years’ service.
Iain added: “As a volunteer emergency service that relies entirely on donations, it is really quite remarkable that our volunteers have provided over 4,016 hours of voluntary service to incidents alone. This excludes all the time we spend training and liaising with other emergency services.”
As the teams head towards the New Year, they are asking the public to make sure that they are ‘adventure smart’ when heading out into the hills. Spare equipment should be carried such as water, food and torches. It is also important to be mindful that the days are short at this time of year.
For information on how to stay safe visit our ‘Before you go out‘ page.